Democrats’ im­mi­gra­tion progress

The Washington Times Weekly - - Editorials -

Asur­pris­ing yet wel­come trend among some mod­er­ate House Democrats ap­pears to have taken hold: en­forc­ing our im­mi­gra­tion laws and en­cour­ag­ing the cul­tural in­te­gra­tion of le­gal im­mi­grants. The latest episode in this trend hap­pened two weeks ago, when 36 brave Democrats crossed party lines to sup­port an amend­ment ap­prov­ing le­gal pro­tec­tions for em­ploy­ers who des­ig­nate English as their exclusive work-place lan­guage.

Adopted by a 218-186 mar­gin, the mea­sure would pre­vent the Equal Em­ploy­ment Op­por­tu­nity Com­mis­sion (EEOC) from pur­su­ing civil le­gal ac­tion against em­ploy­ers who re­quire their em­ploy­ees to speak English. A sim­i­lar mea­sure was adopted ear­lier this year by the Se­nate, thanks to Democrats Daniel Inouye, Mary Lan­drieu and Ben Nelson, who ap­proved the mea­sure in com­mit­tee.

Such pro­tec­tions are needed to en­sure that the lan­guage of suc­cess in the United States is not un­der­mined in episodes like a 2002 case where the EEOC sought to force a Phoenix-area drive-thru restau­rant to al­low em­ploy­ees to com­mu­ni­cate in an Amer­i­can In­dian di­alect.

The Nov. 8 vote ap­prov­ing the Englis­honly amend­ment in­fu­ri­ated the 21-mem­ber Con­gres­sional His­panic Cau­cus, which sought ret­ri­bu­tion by at­tempt­ing to force the House to ad­journ be­fore an im­por­tant vote on a leg­isla­tive patch to pre­vent mil­lions of tax­pay­ers from be­ing hit by the al­ter­na­tive min­i­mum tax. The cau­cus’ ef­fort to shut the House down failed by a 204-184 vote.

Of the 36 Democrats who crossed over on the work­place lan­guage amend­ment, 20 are mem­bers of the Blue Dog Coali­tion, a group of mod­er­ate Democrats from con­ser­va­tive dis­tricts, in­clud­ing many fresh­men who ran on im­mi­gra­tion-en­force­ment plat­forms in 2006.

Their sup­port for en­sur­ing the vi­a­bil­ity of English as the lan­guage of Amer­i­can en­ter­prise comes on the heels of a laud­able bill in­tro­duced by Blue Dog Rep. Heath Shuler along with 43 other Democrats, in­clud­ing 27 other Blue Dogs and 57 Repub­li­cans. Aptly named the Se­cure Amer­ica through Ver­i­fi­ca­tion and En­force­ment (SAVE) Act, Mr. Shuler’s bill would re­quire em­ploy­ers to ver­ify the le­gal sta­tus of their em­ploy­ees, add 8,000 new Border Pa­trol agents, in­crease ae­rial mon­i­tor­ing of the border and ex­pand the E-Ver­ify pro­gram ad­min­is­tered by the De­part­ment of Home­land Se­cu­rity for em­ploy­ers to eas­ily ver­ify their em­ploy­ees’ So­cial Se­cu­rity num­bers.

While most Demo­cratic pres­i­den­tial can­di­dates, in­clud­ing the two fron­trun­ners, say they sup­port New York’s plan to give driver’s li­censes to il­le­gal im­mi­grants, a Fox 5/The Wash­ing­ton Times/Ras­mussen poll two weeks ago found an over­whelm­ing 77 per­cent of the pub­lic dis­agrees. And poll af­ter poll shows the ma­jor­ity of Amer­i­cans want law­mak­ers to pri­or­i­tize im­mi­gra­tion en­force­ment above all other im­mi­gra­tion pro­pos­als. It is heart­en­ing to see House Democrats as­sume this en­force­ment man­tle. We hope their Se­nate coun­ter­parts fol­low suit.

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